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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  August 23, 2009 8:00am-8:59am EDT

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of business. and while we're sure we don't know all the answers, we do know one thing for certain, we want to help. come see what the beginning looks like at openforum.com right now on "msnbc sunday," hurricane bill weaker but still dangerous. the winds, waves and rip currents hitting the northeast coast. a live report. that storm delays the president's vacation plans for a few hours. but the health care storm is following him into the new week and likely to martha's vineyard. cash for clunkers ends tomorrow. who are the real winners and losers? was it this popular with most americans? there's this. a swimming contest. basketball giant shaquille o'neal takes on olympic giants
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michael phelps at his own game. a very good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome. those stories plus a real check on the state of the economy for you. but first, this developing story. forecasters have downgraded bill to a category 1 hurricane as it meares the east coast. and at this hour tropical storm watches and warnings remain out in effect for parts of the massachusetts coast and canada as well. bill swept past bermuda last night with 105-mile-per-hour winds. it caused flooding and power outages on the island. fortunately, though, no casualties to report. right now, the storm is still packing high winds. it churns up rough seas along the new england coastline. bill karins is track thing storm for us. bill, good sunday morning to you. what can we expect in the next few hours? >> well, things are getting better in most areas. the new advisory just in to the hurricane center dropped. tropical storm warning for cape cod and massachusetts. nowhere on the u.s. coastline do
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we have any warnings, tropical storm warnings for bill anymore. here is the latest. this storm is flying. moving at 31 miles per hour. it is racing away from new england. it is still a hurricane. 85-mile-per-hour winds. now over cold or much cooler water. that's going to weaken the storm. we did have rain bands last nature over cape cod and it is still raining pretty good from bangor, maine, down east maine. also getting probably the worst of the storm and the effects are now hitting nova nova scotia. you can see the spiraling bands over knnova nova scotia. through the bangor, maine, area. augusta, the rest of your day should be dry. we did pick up almost three inches of rain in new bedford. outer band rotated through cape cod. that's now over with. the weather will be improving in cape cod. biggest issue is what we thought would happen is the waves. we still have huge waves. notice by the center of the storm, some of those buoys
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reporting seven-foot wave heights. that's why all the advice was to stay away from the beach and away from the water. we still have a couple high waves. little bit off. 13-foot waves off of jersey shore. even though the storm is pretty much gone and leaving us, alex the danger is still there. here's the forecast. the storm races away and should brush nova scotia today and tonight. then we are done with bill, alex. i guess in general, alex, this could have been a lot worse. it was 200 mills off of cape cod. you know, we got lucky with this one for the most part. >> yeah, we absolutely did. we are done with hurricane bill. not with you, though, bill karins. thanks so much. keep it here for complete coverage of hurricane bill. we will have a live report from cape cod for you in just a few minutes. we will be checking out the surf there. hurricane bill is delaying the obamas vacation by only a few hours. the obamas begin their nine-day trip to martha's vineyard this craft noon instead of this morning. the health care debate won't be taking a rest. a group fighting the proposed public option is launching a new
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ad this week. it is hoping the president will be forced to watch since that ad will be airing in massachusetts when the red sox take on president's beloved white sox. >> the beach is nice this time of year. but while president obama vacations, concerns mount about his health care plan. mr. president, when you go back to these things d.c., drop your public option plan. let's get on with the real reform to lower costs. >> i'm joined now live from washington by the white house correspondent. good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> i will tell you that ad, if it is being played right there in the red sox/white sox game, they are trying to speak directly to the president. it is the second week that this president devoted to knocking down rumors about health care reform. as you know. and spent spent time on the defense. it means less time for winning support when you have to play defense instead of offense. what's this tell you about how well the white house is managing
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its message? >> there's no doubt, alex, they lost august. no matter what happens in the last week here with him on vacation and whenever the opponents say they lost this month. this was defined by the opponents talking about things like death panels and even though that wasn't true. those are the stories that grabbed the headlines. then it was the anger at the town hall meetings and. and as you point out well, the president and white house every step was on the defensivek and trailing. i was struck this week by their organizing calls with their supporters. the president spoke to online with the -- supporters and he went -- couple of times to the base. it seemed like he was trying to get them organized and out to fight these rumors three weeks after they started. instead of taking the initiative and having been out there in july. so they have a bit of a comeback to -- to mount here. >> you know, there's been talk about whether the president should go on vacation or not given his full plate. how do you think voters feel when their president takes time off? especially during troubled
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times. >> well, you know, we -- we have gone through this a lot. particularly when we had presidents that would take three, four weeks off. there were often complaints. the president works. we know that. they get the daily briefing on intelligence. now they get a daily briefing on economics. this president probably will make a few phone calls on health care. wouldn't surprise me to see a much publicized visit to senator kennedy up in cape cod. while they are there. maybe getting a little attention to talk a little more about health care. but voters, i think, tend to not begrudge a president and family from taking a week off. >> "the new york times" reporting the president might speak before congress, televised oval office address on health care when he gets back from vacation next week. do you think something like that, nationwide address, would help the president regain control of the debate? >> depends on what he says in it. if he as the same things, no. it wouldn't reframe the debate. that's the key test when they come back in september.
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they know the debate is not over. they had a bad month. they know lit go into september and perhaps october. the question is how does he reframe it? does he put the onus again on the current system to remind people of the things they don't like about it and why they might want change. remind people, tap into the same energy that he did last year when he was elected when people wanted to change the health care system. now because he's lost the debate temporarily, people are saying we would rather not change it. we don't like what has been proposed. he has to come up with a new way of framing that message. he met at that time white house with former senator tom daschle. he once wanted to be the hhs secretary and would have led the cause for health care. we don't know what tom daschle told him but we know tom daschle proposed alternative ways of looking at this. working with bob dole and put a bipartisan plan forward. i'm wondering if the white house will try reframe the debate along those lines. >> good thought. okay. we will talk to you next hour. thanks so much. this morning on "meet the
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press," key players in the health care debate from both sides of the aisle. we have senate finance committee members orrin hatch and charles schumer. they will be telling david gregory where health care reform stands now. today a sign tension may be easing on the core onpeninsula. high-level delegation from north korea met with south korea's president and deliver ad measure from kim jong-il. the meeting came just hours before the funeral of kim dae ju jung. across greece today, dozens wildfires continue to burn. one of the largest fires is right near athens. it is 25 miles wide and continues to destroy homes and as it nears the northern suburbs of the greek capital. that fire forced thousands to flee their homes in the middle of the night saturday. heavy winds expected to fuel the three-day old fire today. in central kentucky today,
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four prisoners remain hospitalized after a prison riot and fire. total of eight staff members and eight prisoners injured in the friday night melee. the fire damaged six of the medium-security prison buildings including a kitchen and medical center. about 700 inmates had to be relocated to various prisons around the state. officials would not say what caused the rioting. the economy now. keyators released this week will give economist as better idea of whether the recession is over or not. the investors will be paying close attention to new home sales and consumers sentiment numbers to see if the economy's recovery is on track and whether the stock market will extend its rally. joining me live from washington, d.c., economist and professor at the university of maryland. good morning to you, peter. >> good morning. nice to be with you again. >> i'm glad you are here. i want to ask you an important number you will be looking at this week to gauge economic health. >> we are getting new home sales which are very important because we expect them to move up just as existing home sales did.
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when first home buyers get the credit they have to be moving up or the economy will not be taking off again. that's what fuels housing starts and gets builders building again and construction workers working and so forth. the other thing is consumer sentiment which in the preliminary data for august dipped down. and i attribute some of that not so much to the economy but what you just talked about. the president having a tough month on health care. you know, for americans to feel good again, they have to feel like the guy in charge is in charge. not just reacting. whether he's talking about health care and afghanistan or the economy, he has to appear to be winning. to that effect either the president shifts his focus from health care and to resurrecting the economy and ensuring sustained recovery or change the debate on health care and appear like he's in control. then consumelers feel better. >> i want to get to the new home sales number which is -- as we said, expect this week, existing home sales, peter, they rose 7.2% in july. do you expect this kind of a
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trend for august? >> i expect them to continue strong. maybe not quite as high as they were this month. monthly data is erratic. i certainly expect august numbers to continue to is your pass may and june. one of the things there is that -- only about 10% of the existing home sales are not distress sales. they are bank foreclosures, banks taking back on mortgages or homeowners that have gotten pink slips few months behind, et cetera. but with the -- with the banks pushing so many houses on the market basically recycling them, we should expect prices to stay reasonably low and along with mortgage rates and for people to be scooping up opportunities. >> okay. how about interest rates, peter? i mean, they remain low. fed said they will stay that way. can the fed keep -- without sending interest rates to the double digits like we saw in the mid '70s? >> i'm not at all concerned about inflation oar the next six months. we have so much excess capacity in the system that poem -- just don't have pricing power. basically keeping interest rates
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low right now doesn't have much consequences for inflation and we have seen it in the data. so you don't believe that there's any real danger there. by the time the economy is swinging again, the liquidity will be removed from the system and the process already started in the nonmortgage sector. >> long term, do you worry about interest rates rising? >> i don't worry about them rise. i expect them to rise. right now we are operating on rock-bottom interest rates which is not a free good. lots of elderly people have certificates of deposit, important sources of income. when they go to renew those, going from 5.5% to 3% and taking big pay cuts. we do need interest rates to be at a reasonable level for inflation. 3% a year. a couple of percentage points for, you know, people that have income. and that translate into, say, 7% mortgage rates. 6.5% mortgage rates which a healthy housing market can accept. >> we will see if we get there. thank you very much for your
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time. >> take care. still ahead, new questions about the cia's interrogation tactics. were fake executions used to question terror suspects? details on a report due out tomorrow. also the cash for clunkers deadline. why some say it is too soon to tell if the program was indeed a success. later, the duel in the pool. what's up with michael phelps and shaquille o'neal? introducing the all new chevy equinox. with an epa estimated 32iles per gallon. and up to 600 miles between fill ups. it's the most fuel efficient crossover on the highway. better than honda cr-v, toyota rav4 and even the ford escape hybrid. the all new chevy equinox. ♪
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's progressive. call or click today. bill is a category 1 hurricane this morning. it is turning up rough seas as it heads north. creating dangerous rip kurents along the east coast. the weather channel's julie martin is live for us in cape cod, massachusetts. julie, with a good morning to you this sunday. how are things looking where you
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are now? >> reporter: good morning. not too bad, alex. we experienced rain and some light wind here. surf kicking up. pretty good along cape cod. we are just a little outside of chatham, massachusetts. you can see the atlantic ocean churning up there now. bill did pass through the cape, center passed overnight. pretty well offshore. really bringing with it just some wind and rain. winds upwards of 30 miles per hour. out on nantucket island. but rip currents really do remain into the major issue today and now i can tell you that most p of the beaches here are closed and are not expected to reopen until monday. that surf way too dangerous for people to get out there. and already because of bill, up and down the eastern seaboard, we have seen some tragedies. in fact, just yesterday, in florida, one man died in the atlantic ocean due to a rip current and five rescues happened in daytona, florida. the coast guard here is prepared for whatever they may need to do to assist people who do venture out in the waters here.
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i can tell you right now it is still a dangerous situation here along the cape. >> so, julie, they are not closing down the beaches. allowing people to stay on the beach. they are saying don't go in the water? >> reporter: but the beaches are, in fact, closed. you see a few stragglers that somehow found their way in. the lifeguards are out trying the keep people off the beaches. i don't think that at this point they are planning to reopen this beach any time soon. as you can see, it is still way too rough out there. >> yeah. it is pretty rough. your cameraman panned off and showing us. people need to take heed. tragic news out of florida. the julie, thank you very much. we will check in with you again. after the latest on hurricane bill, the storm is headed, logon to weather.com and check that out. today marks the start of the first family's first vacation since moving into the white house. the obamas will travel to martha's vineyard, massachusetts, this afternoon. not too far away from where julie was. a ten-day vacation on that small island resort.
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ron allen is live there at martha's vineyard. it is a good sunday morning to you. i understand it is going to be a very private vacation for the obama family. right? >> reporter: that's certainly what they say. they are staying out -- off the beaten path in a place called chilmar. not a place most tourists now, 25-acre estate. they have their privacy. beach, tennis, golf. but, of course, when you are the president of the united states nothing gets completely private. we are expecting to see the president on the island. lot of supporters who want to see him. and things inevitably come up on the presidential vacations the president may be asked to respond to. the results of the afghanistan election are going to happen in a few days' time. and he might be asked about his response to what happens over there. there's also rumor and speculation about what he will do from things like playing golf with tiger woods perhaps. there's rumor and speculation oprah winfrey may come and visit.
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there's discussion that we are hearing now it is not going to happen. it may happen. the president might venture from here over to cape cod to hyannis port. we know the senator is ailing. the health care has been his life's work and president obama had ground to make up there. again, right now we are hearing that's not going to happen. there's still speculation and possibility that it might. >> you know, martha's vineyard is a popular place for so many people this time of year. how will the obama family visit -- how will that interfere or impede getting around for the island residents that are vacationers? is that a problem with the secret service there? >> reporter: well, that's good question. that's something the people here dread. there are about 15,000 people that live on the island year-round. on a day like today and in the height of august, they are anywhere -- close to 100,000 people here. there are a couple of town centers, oak bluffs, new haven and so forth. those areas get congested. there's traffic nightmares, streets, restaurants and
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everything is -- jam packed. that happened a lot when the clintons were here during the 1990s. the obamas -- how they are going to handle this, they don't know. they are saying it is going to be private but they do have a lot of friends here and a lot of people who want to see them and a lot of supporters and we will see how it goes. >> ron allen, we will talk to you this morning. a panda party in southwest china. twin pandas celebrated their 1 month birthday. the male cubs were separated at birth because most pandas normally have one baby at a time and the mothers aren't equipped to handle two cubs at a time. one cub is being raised by the mother and the other is being raised by the handlers. when i was seventeen i was not good to my skin. long summer days and not engh sleep. what i wouldn't do for a do-over. (announcer) new neutrogena total skin renewal. gentle exfoliating puffs and micro-vibrations speed surface cellurnover. it's clinically tested to help undo the look of a year's worth of skin aging
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ex-wife, jasmine fiore. the police are leaving no stone unturned for the hunt of this fugitive. >> more than a week since a confirmed sighting of jenkins. the public continues to call in tips. as a reality show contestant, ryan jenkins was known as a smooth operator. but now he's better known as a subject of an international manhunt. police say that he killed 28-year-old former model jasmine fiore. the woman he married in march. they lived in the spotlight together but now detectives say jenkins may be armed and has the resources to keep ahead of authorities. >> this is a man on the run who will do anything, at least initially, to avoid apprehension. >> reporter: police found fiore's mutilated body dumped in a trash bin in orange county. she had to be identified through the serial numbers on her breast implants. >> fingers and teeth were
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removed. >> reporter: after the murder, police believe jenkins drove a thousand miles to northwest washington. they found his car in a small coastal town and his boat which he may have used to enter canada. here in calgary, police are part of a nationwide dragnet. the city is far north of the border but it is where ryan jenkins grew up. the suspect's father is dan jenkins. prominent architect. the two developed projects together. but some residents say ryan jenkins is better known in town for his wealth and women. his relationships had turned violent in the past. in one instance, he pled guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend. he was sentenced to 15 months probation and counseling. >> the counseling includes anger management, counseling as directed. domestic violence counseling which would relationship counseling. >> reporter: man with a past and television prominence. now caught in the focus of a real-life manhunt. some who know ryan jenkins in
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this area tell nbc news he may have access to money, family and friends here. police say that they are very aware of that. >> okay. thank you for covering things live from calgary, canada, where that manhunt is on. cash for clunkers winding down. a look at the program's winners and losers here on "msnbc sunday." [ male announcer ] best shampoo, self magazine. experts at good housekeeping agree. they gave it their seal. [ male announcer ] pantene delivers damage protection results leading salon brands can't beat. you be the expert. experience pantene. i don't know anytng about computers and my daughter is going to college, so she needs one. - can you help me? - ( shouting ) - yes, you. - our line of next class laptops are perfect for college, and they start at just $650. are those good? 'cause i don't want to get her something - that she thinks is totally lame. - no, they're awesome. and they come with pre-loaded software so she won't have to do a thing. - great. she's good at that. - ( blue shirts laugh ) laptops designed for college
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mushg bill lose something steam overnight. bill is turning up rough seas as it heads north. hurricane watches and thunderstorm warnings remain in effect for parts of canada at this hour. that storm is still packing high winds as it tracks north. bill is not expected to directly hit the u.s., though. live report from cape cod, massachusetts, coming your way at the top of the hour. to politics. if you think you heard everything the white house has to say about health care, think
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again. "the new york times" is reporting that the president might speak before congress when it reconvenes in september and he may even deliver a nationally televised address from the oval office. i'm joined live from washington by democratic strategist julie epstein and republican strategist bill blakeman. good to see you both. julian, what can the president say? what more can he say that he hasn't already said? at what point does the public get oversaturation? >> well, it is a very good question. i think that the lesson from 1993 for democrats is that look, you need to cut a deal and cut a deal with the moderates and committee chairmen and the republicans that want to play ball rather than play politics. i think you have to sell the case street and simple and understandable terms. i think what the president can say is we can get two out of three things done on a bipartisan basis. regulate the insurance industry and cut out all the excessive prove tearing and portability and wrongful denial of coverage taken care of. until we get through universal
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coverage through the medicare system. the public option which brad and i will disagree on, will be food fight in the congress. whether we get that through or not and we don't know yet. we can get at least two out of three things. if we get the two things done it will be sweeping reform. >> brad, you know if if we look at this town hall, approve anything here, the americans really care about the health care issue. i mean, i looked at my twitter page this morning. it is all anyone is talking about. does the republican party feel any responsibility now to say yes, the president is right that health care is important. and change the tone of the conversation to -- something more productive? >> well, health care is important but it doesn't trump the economy. i think what people are saying is, mr. president, we understand that health care is a problem but the economy is more of a problem. if you don't have a job, alex, what good is a portable health care if you can't afford it. i think what the president needs to do is rereprioritize what's important to the american people. fix the economy, mr. president. first and foremost. and do what you said you were going to do.
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reduce the fraud and competence and with medicaid and medicare and have you done a lot. don't overreach on health care when the economy is the most pressing problem. >> you don't think these things can be done hand in hand? mine, it is not like you can -- with health care, part of the problem is the economy as well. i mean, you have to fix one to fix the other. they can go hand in hand, don't you think? >> when you are focusing on one-third of the economy when two-thirds are ailing your priorities are screwed up. what the president has to realize is you can walk and chew gum at the same time but putting all your emphasis on the wrong problem. the american people, first and foremost, need jobs and they need security and they need to educate their children and feed their families. that's first and foremost. >> julian, i have to ask you, i'm sure you know about nonpartisan political strategist charlie cook and what ee believes the health care could cost them seats. >> the lesson of 1993 is not to sit back and let congress write
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a health care bill and then just kind of see with a happens. the lesson of 1993 is very early on, the white house, the committee chairmen, moderate democrats, cut a deal. and then sell it in very, very simple terms. democrats failed to do that this time. but i think, you know, what doesn't kill you in politics makes you stronger. the democrats will come back now where -- engage something of the very moderate republicans and i again, i think we can get something on the table by september, october that's understandable and comprehendible to the american people. the real problem is the message hasn't been consistent. democrats can fix that and getting? done. >> okay. real quick, brad. any danger republicans might overplay their hands here? >> i don't think so. we are innocent bystanders. democrats control everything and high majorities in the house and senate and have a president. what more do they need? they need to get their act together and present the republicans something that they can be dash buy into really. >> i'm going to get a lot of
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tweets on the innocent bystanders. thank you very much, guys. >> we will be back soon. >> i know. for an inside look on the political stories topping the headlines logon to firstread.msnbc.com. more fallout this morning from scotland's release of the convicted pan am bomber. fbi director robert mueller september a scathing letter to the officials. the release of abdelbaset ali mohmed al megrahi , makes a mockery of justice and gives comfort to terrorists around the world. mueller chastised the justice minister for releasing the lockerbie bomber and letting him return to libya to a hero's welcome. abdelbaset ali mohmed al megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of flight 103 over lockerbie, scotland, in which 270 people were killed. to afghanistan where votes from thursday's presidential election are still being counted. main challengers, hamid karzai, says he has proof the election was rigged. nbc news chief correspondent richard engel live in kabul. what can you tellous this front,
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the claim that the election has been rigged? >> reporter: not so much it was outright rigged but there was massive election fraud. abdullah abdullah said today he has evidence from his observers, from people who support his campaign, that has been gathered around the country, saying that there was a great deal of voter intimidation. and some ballot box stuffing when afghans went to the polls last thursday. the ballots are still being counted and according to the schedule that has been released by the election commission, some preliminary results should be released tuesday but when i spoke after the statements by abdullah abdullah to an international election observer and impartial third party group, they said yes, they -- had also been hearing reports of widespread irregularities. particularly in southern afghanistan where voter turnout was quite low because of taliban violence. >> you know, richard, abif abdullah abdullah wins the election, no more allegations of
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ballot stuffing, do you think? >> reporter: no one is expecting -- abdullah abdullah thinks he is going to win. opinion polls coming out before the election suggested that he didn't have enough to win outright but that he -- could have enough to push this into a runoff election that would likely take place in the fall. he's not the only one who is making the allegations of fraud and it is also other candidates who -- who didn't think they did as well or don't believe that they don't trust the -- several observation groups said that they think overall it was successful but there were many irregularities and that they are -- fairly skeptical of the impartiality of the election commission which was appointed by the government. >> all right. we will see what happens with that. thank you very much, richard engel. tomorrow a long-awaited cia report detailing the bush administration's so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used after 9/11 is set to be released.
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"newsweek" first broke details of the report, including this. a mock execution was staged in a room to a detainee during which a gunshot was fired to make the suspect believe another prisoner had been killed. joining me is michael isikoff. good morning. >> good morning. >> you wrote this story. did it surprise you to learn about the mock executions? >> well, you know, we have been -- full story of the cia's detention and interrogation program has been dribbling out over the years. we have been consistently told that there are -- aspects of it that shocked people within the government when they first learned it. produced enormous controversy. and we are beginning to see, as we get more and more of these details, why this was such a controversial program. in the case that you just
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referred to, the report details how -- detainees were essentially threatened with death by staging of mock executions by cia interrogators and in another instance involving the accused kohl bomber, a gun was brandished in front of him and a power drill was taken out. and turned on to -- intimidate him and frighten him. the problem with this is these are all tactics that went beyond what were the authorized justice department guidelines for interrogations. and they do raise questions as to whether cia operatives crossed the line and may have violated a federal torture law. >> is there any evidence that information was given up as a result of these tactics? >> this is going to be one of the most closely watched issues tomorrow when the cia inspector
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general's report is released or at least portions of it are released. how effective were these aggressive tactics that had been used by the cia. as you know, vice president cheney and other bush administration officials have staunchly defended them and insisted they were getting good information. we are told that the cia inspector general's report is a much more nuanced account, raises questions as to whether or not that is true. we are going to see exactly how it was worded tomorrow. and people are going to be parsing the words and trying to decide did we get good information out of this program? did it justify the kind of tactics being used? >> we know the cia videotaped certain interrogations included water boarding. is there going to be a videotape that comes out showing what -- what the allegations are, what the report says. >> no. >> that's actually -- put your finger on it. another very important matter to look for tomorrow.
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the detainee who was threatened with the gun and the power drill, he was one of three cia detainees who were waterboarded. the tapes of his interrogations were destroyed. one of two whose tapes were destroyed. so one question is were these tactics that were used, the aggressive tactics, threatening them with the gun, threatening with the power drill, were they on tape and were they destroyed because they showed evidence that the interrogators went beyond the law. remember, that cia tape destruction has been under investigation for over a year by a special justice department prosecutor. >> michael, what are we going to see as a result of this? what's going to come next? >> well, what we are going to see right after this report and tomorrow is a very big day, i'm told something like 1,000 pages are going to be disclosed of the cia inspector general's report and other documents related to this program. but right on the heels of that,
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attorney general eric holder is going to be making a very big decision and the suggestions are he is going to be appointing a prosecutor. it could be john durham the guy already looking at it, or could be somebody else that will be reviewing all this to determine whether there are grounds for further criminal prosecutions of cia operatives involved in this program and that's going to produce enormous controversy if he does this. push back from the intelligence community, push back from republicans in congress saying no, this will damage national security, this will -- demoralize the intelligence community. that is the debate we are going to be seeing playing out this week. >> okay. that's going to be a big story and we will be on it tomorrow. thank you very much. michael isikoff, as always. >> thank you. still to come, is she a woman or a man? toughest test yet for a new track champion. why that question isn't so easy to answer. [ female announcer ] arthritis targets your body where it's weak.
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testing done to determine the gender of a south african teenager that won the woman's 800 meter title in berlin last week. the south african federation is conducting a battery of tests to prove or disprove the assertion she is female. the athlete says she's been teased her entire life she looks like a boy. the decision to test the athlete has provoked outrage in her village and throughout south africa. joining us now, sportswriter, dave. as a sportswriter, how often have you seen this kind of thing before, testing of athletes to determine their gender? >> well, it has come up oftentimes in history. frankly, it comes up any time you have a woman athlete who dares push the boundaries of what a woman athlete is he as being able to do. particularly women athletes who say, you know what, i'm not going to appear in "maxim" magazine or "playboy," i'm going
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to be an athlete first. think about martina, was accused of having a chromosome loose. every woman athlete must cross where you have sexism on one side and homophobia on the other. in this case, what it is taking in is an 18-year-old girl who all of a sudden, according to her parents, feel like her life is in danger now. the only reason why it is happening because her opponents on the track and field are basically upset about the fact she's dusting them in this race. >> so -- the article you wrote about the sex testing -- of text testing, have you made your case? >> the way track and field looks at gender is binary. you are a man or woman. 1 out of 1700 births in this country are intersexed. that means there are more
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intersexed people than albinos in the united states. by some studies 1% of people are born with some variance of chromosomes and neither men or woman. so what that speaks to -- we could argue about this. that's like arguing whether or not the sky is blue. that's biological fact. the way track and field, though, views gender is very much you are man or woman. if you look like you are transgressing that, your life could be in danger. your accomplishes are derided. that's what's happen. >> is it something beyond her physical appearance that's raising suspicion? aside from the accomplishment, is there anything else? >> there is nothing here. it has never come up before. she -- i mean, her coach said that -- in a crude way but he offered to sort of parade her naked in front of track and field officials which is what they used to do to women athletes a couple of decades ago in track and field. they were forced to parade naked in front of officials because the ioc and international track
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federations have always had this obsession about gender and whether women were trying to pass as men or men trying to pass as women. that's always been a subtext of track and field. i think in the 21st century is we need to get beyond these very binary definitions because they don't account for the variety of gender that does exist. even though people don't like to talk about it. >> all right. dave, we want to talk to you more. we will have you on later this morning. >> sounds good. basketball great shaquille o'neal is challenging michael phelps to a duel in the pool. shaq showed off his swim stroke while the press conference. that will take place tonight in maryland. it will be featured in an episode of shaq's new reality show called "shaq versus." that should be good. got an appetite? contestants at a dumpling eating contest did. joey jaws chess nut wolfed down 181 dumplings. that's nothing. last year he ate 240 of them.
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he's the champion of the july fourth famous nathan's hot dog eating contest. wow. the second half of your weekend, improving conditions along the east coast. coastal maine, high rip current risk with the leftovers of hurricane bill. on the west we are going to see increase in chances into monday for showers especially to the west of the rockies and denver, temperature in the upper 80s. hey bets, can i borrow a quarter? sure, still not dry? i'm trying to shrink them. i lost weight and now some clothes are too big. how did you do it?
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auto nation, country's largest auto dealership chain, stopped making cash for clunkers deals. dealers are choosing to pull out of the program early for fear they won't be able to complete all of the paperwork before cash for clunkers ends monday night at 8:00 p.m. joining me live is the managing editor of mediaite.com. all these dealers pulling out early. are they being cautious or are they being fearful? >> you know, 40% of all applications -- 40% of all applications have been processed so far. only 2% led to actual
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disbursement of cash. there's real concern by auto dealers that are small business esther going to be left holding the bag. in this economic climate, they might be smart to be cautious. >> you think they are doing the right thing, lot of guys saying look, if we are not going on to get repaid that could be the end of some of these dealership. >> the government can afford these types of programs. small auto dealers don't want to be held holding the bag. they are worried it will not lead to the actual disbursement as promised. >> we have 490,000 cars sold in this program. you say it is too early to judge whether or not this was a successful program. why? >> well, mainly the -- the red tape attached has not been great. a bit of a publicity nightmare for the administration. although, they are working to fix that backlog. it hurt secondary industries like auto repair, auto parts, and cars for charities. i think the biggs question is the effect it will have on the
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environment. a report last year that stated if you were to just get rid of your gas guzzling car to buy a hybrid, it would have a far more negative effect on the carbon footprint than just continuing to drive the gas guzzler. i think it remains to be seen the net effect in terms of the environment of the program. >> we talked about the popular program. i said a million times the administration said it, but you are saying popular, that word, you question that. >> well, robert quickly wrote -- noted that popular program was very sort of -- common term. because i think the media wants to sort of -- consumer wants a simple narrative. the truth is that the polling indicates that over half of americans were opposed to this program back when it started inup and when started to continue the funding in july. so i don't know how popular or successful it is yet. >> okay. we talked about the trickle down effect on the negativity. but let's talk about gm. they said look, we are going to hire back 10,000 workers because
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we are putting our cars out there and they are getting sold. there is an upside. >> there is a great upside. to the automakers and i give decreed to it the administration for doing the stimulus quickly and that's been great. you know, the bottom line is that, you know, americans have a lot less disposable income today than they did two years ago. while they may be spending money on new cars, that's money that's not going to vacations, other consumer goods, or buying a new house. the trickle down effect helped detroit but it may be negatively affecting other factors in a tough economy as well. >> okay. thank for joining us. we will see you again. still ahead -- track hurricaning bill. the latest the storm warnings.
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